Remote placements

  • Introduction
  • Question 1: What can a student do via remote placement?

    In remote placement, there is still the in-person interaction between the audiologist as clinical educator and the client. With facilitation by the audiologist, the student can participate in the following:

    • History taking
    • Giving instructions for all procedures
    • Audiometry
    • Results integration and feedback
    • Management and ongoing rehabilitation planning
    • Goal setting and counselling
    • Hearing device set up, programming and adjustments
  • Question 2: What does “with facilitation by the audiologist” mean?

    As the clinical educator in the encounter, your role is essential in ensuring the client understands what is happening and ensuring the experience runs as required. In this regard, your role has not changed from having the student in the clinical room with you. It is simply a reconfiguration of how everyone will interact with one another. This may mean your instructions to the student need to be a little more explicit and direct than previously.

    For example, you may need to ask the student what they would like to do in terms of additional instructions during audiometry, and then inform the client on the student’s behalf if audibility is poor. You can relay impedance results to the student, who can then clinically integrate and prepare for feedback. You may need to move your client into a more optimal seating position for when discussion involving the student occurs.

  • Question 3: Do I need additional technology and programs to host a remote placement?

    The short answer is no. All student involvement can be facilitated using the Zoom audio and video online tool. You do not need to have an account to make use of this platform.

    Using Zoom meetings, the student emails a unique link to the clinical educator prior to their placement. In the usual preparation time before the client arrives, the clinical educator clicks on the link and establishes contact with the student to discuss the client and plans for the session. Using the share screen option in Zoom allows the clinical educator to limit the student’s view to the program or window of interest. Through Zoom, the clinical educator can grant remote access to the student (or student will need to request it and clinical educator clicks to consent – and can stop at any time) to allow the student to perform tasks such as clinical notes, audiometry, and writing reports on the clinical educator’s system.

  • Question 4: What if my organisation does not use Zoom?

    There are other platforms that can perform the same function such as the Microsoft Teams or TeamViewer. Microsoft Teams is a subscribed app while TeamViewer is free. With the Microsoft Teams, you (as the host) can send a link to the student and that will allow them to participate in the session. This will require your organisation IT to allow remote access for the testing.

  • Question 5: Will all of this require more work from me?

    This will be different work, rather than more work. It requires a little more planning with the student about what they can do at a distance and how they can add value to the clinical experience. There may be some initial work to document the things you don’t even think about (such as shortcut keys for audiometry, how to store notes) that can be then used by all students on placement with you. The ease of having face to face discussion with the student during the clinical encounter will be reduced in the circumstance of the student undertaking remote placement from home. However, if they are still in the building (in a separate space) then you will still be able to have more casual interaction as per a traditional in-person clinical placement.

  • Question 6: Can I still get clinical supervision hours?

    Yes, you can.

    Student Clinical Experience hours will be documented for students as per normal procedures for each University. For clinical supervision CPD points, please log in using the standard process to approve these hours. The University will continue verifying clinical supervision days to Audiology Australia.

  • Question 7: What can I do if I don't have a computer audiometer or internet access?

    As mentioned above, these remote placement arrangements are envisaged where there is the required technology in the space where the student would normally be active during clinical placement. We are aware that not all our clinical placements have this connectivity. In these situations, students can still participate in the non-test related activities (history taking, results integration, discussion and management) if there is connectivity close by (for example, an ante-room outside the sound treated booth that has an internet connected device). As another alternative, telephone may be used at least for history taking and for case discussion and final integration of the case results.

  • Question 8: What about confidentiality and privacy?

    Students on remote placement are bound by all the agreements and expectations that underlie in-person placements. Clinical educators can be assured they can limit the student to viewing online only specific programs (e.g. Affinity audiometer software, Zedmed patient management system) if they wish. Alternatively, they can grant access for viewing the entire screen, which will limit the need for new permissions across the clinical encounter. This can be done with the knowledge that the student is bound by their confidentiality agreements/code of conduct to respect and observe privacy requirements. Clinical educators can play their part too, by disabling email alerts on the computer in use.

  • Question 9: What if I work at a diagnostic service where remote testing is not possible? Is it possible to offer students placements in-house despite space and social distancing restrictions?

    Allowing the student to remote access a clinical site may not work for some placement providers (for example Paediatric sites). This proposed model minimises the number of people in the room.

    In this model, the student is onsite but is either a) in the consultation room conducting the appointment with the clinician outside of the room watching via online platforms or 2) is at the placement site but out of the room and watching the clinician conducting the appointment via online platforms.

    Do I need additional technology and programs to host this type of placement?

    The clinician needs access to Zoom on their office computer, a moveable camera that can be placed in the clinic room so that the appointment can be viewed over Zoom, and a PC based audiometer, while not essential, is preferred.

    If you have access to a remote microphone system this would be beneficial – but students could also bring one with them for the placement. The remote camera could also be provided by the student for the placement.

    How is this set up?

    The clinician would log in to Zoom on the clinic computer. They need to ensure the below settings are ticked:

    • In Zoom, advanced settings ensure remote control of camera is selected
    • In Zoom, video settings allow side by side mode to be active
    • Mute computer speaker – make sure it is the same speaker you have in Zoom – essential otherwise everyone will be able to hear everything happening outside!
    • Once the other room has called this room, hit share screen so that audiometer settings are visible from outside of the room.
    • Direct communication with the student can be maintained throughout the appointment vis the remote microphone system.

    On a different computer, outside the clinic room, the clincian or student would be able to watch and hear the entire appointment.

    For this to happen, from the outside room computer, go to new meeting, click on participants and then click invite the clinic room computer (i.e. just invite yourself as Zoom allows you to log in on multiple devices).

    • In video settings allow side by side mode
    • You can have microphone unmuted and may want to turn off camera

    Benefits of this model

    This model allows flexibility for the clinician depending on complexity of the patient. For example, if there is a straight forward case, the clinician can be watching and listening to the entire appointment from outside the room. This also gives the student some autonomy and independence encouraging them to make clinical decisions without your immediate input. The chat feature on Zoom would enable the student to ask questions without you needing to enter the room.

    Alternatively, if there is a patient that needs to be seen by you, the student could be involved in some of the appointment (e.g. history taking) and then could move remotely to watch the clinician from the other computer. This gives the student time to be part of the appointment without the time pressures of conducting the assessment themselves.

  • Question 10: I would like to offer observation virtual patients. Is that possible?

    Offsite Learning Instructions

    If you don’t have a student physically in the clinic with you, this is a great opportunity to have small groups of first year students observe your clinic and have some exposure of what happens in clinical appointments.

    If you can host students via applications such as Zoom, all you will need to do is follow the instructions below to connect at the agreed time, using the zoom link that is emailed to you.

    Be assured that our students have agreed to online learning agreements that protect the privacy of you and your clients.

    Please note, there are options other than Zoom, please contact us if this is the case.